All Articles Tagged "White House"
Well, it took almost the entire year, but we were finally able to see President and Mrs. Obama in their first joint interview of 2013.
First of all, can we just discuss how without even speaking, you can see the love they have for one another? It’s clearly one that you don’t ever have to question, it’s right in your face. That’s one of the things people love about President and Mrs. Obama. Barbara Walters, who conducted the interview during a segment on ABC’s 20/20 on Friday, acknowledged it and also asked if it ever gets a little more intense than these happy moments:
Both: Yeah. Absolutely. We’re married.
Mrs. Obama: We’ve been married for — I mean, we’re married. Do you go through the list of things that irritate us about each other?
President Obama: That’s the nature of marriage. You have to respect each other. You have to like each other. You have to be honest with each other. But it’s not always going to be smooth sailing. And there’s some work involved. And there should be work. And — there are gonna be tensions.
They also talked about their daughters, Malia and Sasha, and how they continue to try and make sure they have normal lives even though they’re in such a public view. If you can believe it, Malia, 15, is old enough to date! Walters asked if Malia actually dates but the Obamas quickly shut that question down:
Mrs. Obama: Oh we’re not gonna — we’re not gonna talk about that.
Pres. Obama: We’re not gonna put her business out there.
Mrs. Obama: She does what every — every normal teenager does. You know, we think about not just her life here, but her life after. Because she’s gotta be an independent, strong, smart, capable woman in the world. So, she has to get her training now.
Mrs. Obama added that in terms of social media, the girls are very limited in their usage. Because she’s older, Malia is allowed to use it some but Sasha, only 13, is not allowed to be on social media.
In terms of business, both President and Mrs. Obama say that his low approval ratings are part of the job and people won’t like everything he does. Now, Barbara took it further asking if he thought Mrs. Obama would have made a better President and based on Mrs. Obama’s semi-laugh and facial expressions, Barbara really tried it with that question. President Obama took the political route by saying she would have, but Mrs. Obama quickly refused that one:
Mrs. Obama: I absolutely don’t agree. You know, he has a level of patience and — and focus — and tenacity and calm, you know, that just doesn’t come by anyone. I definitely don’t have that patience.
Finally, one of the big questions is what will they do once his second term is over. Will Pres. Obama continue in politics?
Mrs. Obama: That’s a no.
Pres. Obama: I think it’s fair to say that I’ve run my last campaign. I won’t be in another elected office. Will I continue to care deeply about issues we are working on? Absolutely.
They both agree that where they will live will be decided, in large part, by what Sasha wants to do. Malia will be in college, but Sasha will only be a sophomore in high school so they want to make sure she’s good.
You can check out more of the interview here.
I think the fall is going to be a promising time for black film. We’re already anticipating the sequel to “The Best Man” in November and from the looks of this first trailer for Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” October will bring good things are way as well.
We’ve heard a lot about this new cinematic feat — most recently because of Terrence Howard’s comments about Oprah’s tig ‘ol bitties — thankfully, this film is so much for than that. “The Butler” is the story of Eugene Allen, the African American White House butler who served several presidents over his 34-year post before retiring as head butler in 1986. Forest Whitaker plays the rple of Allen, but he is far from the only big name in this feature film. Oprah Winfrey, Robin Williams, David Oyelowo, Colman Domingo, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Melissa Leo, Liev Schreiber, Jesse Williams, Aml Ameen, Lenny Kravitz, and Cuba Gooding Jr all have parts in this gripping story that, as you can see from the trailer, is about much more than Allen, capturing race relations between blacks and whites from the ’50s through the ’80s and how that shaped Allen’s own family dynamic.
I’m personally pretty excited about this one, and I think it will be much better received than “The Help,” although criticism has already reared it’s ugly head due to the subject of servitude. Check out the trailer and tell us what you think? Will you head to the theater to see this October 18?
WORK! Michelle Obama Covers Vogue And President Obama Speaks On How Loving Her Made Him A Better Man
Michelle…you better work!
The First Lady of the United States is looking regal and fabulous on the April issue of Vogue, her second cover to commemorate another four years of the fierce fashionista that is Michelle Obama. On the cover of the mag, you can see her in a gorgeous Reed Krakoff dress and diamond-drop earrings, sitting on a table with her bangin’ bangs and bright smile. As for inside the issue, Michelle and President Obama open up about their family, their relationship and their critics. The latter including people who like to claim that the First Family is more antisocial than those of past, not extending invitations to kick it at the White House to those with opposing ideas in office in Washington, but Michelle makes it clear that while they don’t mind rubbing elbows with who they need to, that’s definitely one of their main priorities:
“Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole. You know, we have small kids; they’re growing every day. But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, ‘Our number-one priority is making sure that our family is whole.’
“The stresses and the pressures of this job are so real that when you get a minute, you want to give that extra energy to your fourteen- and eleven-year-old. . . .”
Michelle also talks about the man her husband is, and why he’s so damn cool–aka, relatable for many people:
“I’ve tried to explain this guy to people over the years, but there is a calmness to him that is just . . . it has been a consistent part of his character. Which is why I think he is uniquely suited for this challenge—because there is a steadiness. And maybe it’s because of his Hawaiian upbringing—you go to Hawaii and it’s Chillsville; maybe it was because his life growing up was a little less steady, so he had to create that steadiness for himself . . . but he is that person, in all situations, over the course of these last four years, from watching the highs and lows of health-care reform to dealing with two very contentious, challenging elections. . . . The most you get from him is ‘You know, that is gonna be tough. . . .’ There are a lot of times I can’t tell how his day went. Unless I really dig down. Because when he walks through that door, he can let go of it all. And it just doesn’t penetrate his soul. And that’s the beautiful thing for me to see as his wife. That was one of the things I was worried about: How would politics affect this very decent, genuine, noble individual? And there is just something about his spirit that allows all that stuff to stay on the outside.”
I also love the back and forth between these two, as they talk in the interview about the early struggles in their marriage of getting adjusted to each other’s personalities, but how years together have made them better people. And funny people too:
POTUS: “There’s no doubt I’m a better man having spent time with Michelle. I would never say that Michelle’s a better woman, but I will say she’s a little more patient.”
FLOTUS: “I would say I’m a better woman. You couldn’t say it.”
POTUS: “I couldn’t say it,” he says.
FLOTUS: The First Lady looks at me: “It’s good that he learned not to say that.” And then turns and looks at him and smiles. “Don’t say that.”
*Sigh* I just think they’re amazing. And the article about the couple in April’s Vogue is pretty amazing too, as it gives a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the White House and how they as a couple keep their heads with the spotlight constantly on their every move. They already came off as very human and relatable, but the article make you appreciate their down-to-earth personalities even more. Pick up the new issue when it hits newsstands on March 26.
Photos courtesy of Vogue by Annie Leibovitz
It’s A Photoshoot! Michelle Obama And Her Bangs Are Shown Off In Official Second Term White House Photo
Just as President Obama had the chance to change things up for his second term photograph for the White House, so has his first lady, Michelle Obama. In her second term official photo, Obama is all smiles once again, hair looking luxurious, especially those layers and the wispy bangs we love so much. She shows off her pearls and her pearly whites at the same time while rocking a dark 3/4 length sleeve dress. This beautiful photo was taken by official White House photographer Chuck Kennedy and was done on February 12.
Whether or not these bangs were part of her “midlife crisis” as she so jokingly said, they’re bangin’ baby! So what do you think about the new official photo? And do you like it more or less than her first official photograph?
The honors keep rolling in for little Quvenzhane Wallis. Tomorrow, the 9-year old, Oscar nominated actress will attend an interactive Black History Month workshop at the White House. Among the attendees are the first lady, Michelle Obama, the cast and crew of Beasts of the Southern Wild and 80 middle and high school students from Louisiana and Washington D.C.
Members of the Beasts of the Southern Wild family will discuss their experiences making the film and how the inspirational messages in the movie can be applied to their everyday lives.
We can dig it!
In addition to visiting the White House Wallis will also attend Essence’s Women In Hollywood luncheon before the Oscars are awarded on February 24.
Another White House Exit: Obama’s Head of The Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Departs
Yet another person is leaving President Obama’s administration. Obama’s official liaison to faith-based organizations, Joshua DuBois, 30, has decided to call it quits in order to write a book.
While Obama said he urged DuBois to stay on, many D.C. insiders say that the agreement was mutual.
DuBois headed an office that was expanded significantly from the George W. Bush years, reports The Washington Post. But despite the growth of the office, many criticized DuBois for a lack of experience and a lack of follow through.
DuBois was just 26 when appointed by Obama to run the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Office works with 12 federal agencies. The staff increased from about 30 to 45 during DuBois’ tenure, and Obama formed a faith-based advisory council of leaders from faith-based social service organizations. “It led college campus programs on interfaith issues and worked to help faith-based programs helping fathers. It also created a program to train State Department workers abroad on religion and foreign policy,” reports the Post.
Obama changed the course of the office, which was started by President George W. Bush. Under Bush, the office “proved contentious because many critics said the office and its actions often violated the constitutional separation of church and state,” says The New York Times. Obama, however, appointed advisory councils that represented a broad range of religious leaders, including conservative evangelicals and openly gay ministers.
DuBois, a Pentecostal minister, engaged religious leaders to address broad social goals such as reducing unwanted pregnancies, helping people cope with the economic downturn, encouraging fathers to take responsibility for their children, and improving child and maternal health.
DuBois also served as an unofficial in-house pastor to the president, sending Obama an e-mail each morning with Bible passages intended to prompt reflection or prayer. DuBois will author a book of devotionals for leaders based on the ones he sent the President each day. DuBois will also be teaching at New York University. He also aims to create an organization to help government, nonprofit, and private institutions develop partnerships with religious groups to solve social problems.
This One’s For All My Haters: President Obama Unveils New Official White House Photo For Second Term
With a new term (and an inauguration to celebrate on Monday) comes a new official White House photograph, and President Obama is looking pretty good in his (that salt and pepper hair actually looks fab on him).
Released today, the photo was taken by official White House photographer Pete Souza, and it will replace the 2009 portrait, which displayed a more reserved President Obama, ready to get down to business. This new photograph, however, shows a more relaxed and confident President Obama, arms crossed, big smile on, letting people know, “Hi haters! That’s right…I’m back!” On a side note, this was the first presidential portrait taken with a digital camera according to Jezebel.
I’m all for this photo, because after fighting tooth and nail for most of 2012 to get a second term in a narsty election cycle, the President deserves to smile. He can finally focus on the things he needs to without worrying about what his detractors have to say about him or trying to please any and everybody. He’s got his second term. And that should be the motto for this new photograph: “I GOT THIS!”
Are you loving the new official White House photograph for President Obama?
Obama and the rest of DC are gearing up for his inauguration on January 21. This time around, when President Barack Obama takes the oath of office, there will be a marked difference in turnout. It will be a much smaller affair, with officials estimating that attendance will be fewer by half, reports Fox News.
The first time around, some 1.8 million people packed onto the National Mall to see the first black President of the United States being sworn in. Now, hotel occupancy is weak compared to 2009, when you could not find an empty hotel room for miles. The special hotel packages aren’t being booked like before, Kate Gibbs, spokeswoman for Destination D.C., a nonprofit corporation that promotes D.C. travel and tourism, told Washington Whispers blog in US News And World Report. Back in 2009, hotel occupancy was 98 percent with guests paying more than $600 that night, according to hotel tracking firm STR, reports Fox News.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is also expecting less congestion with 800,000 fewer people using the rails, compared with 1.54 million users in 2009.
There are fewer official events as well. There will be only two official balls, versus six in 2009. The Inaugural Ball is expected to draw more than 35,000 people at the Washington Convention Center. The Commander In Chief’s Ball, which honors U.S. troops, has actually doubled in size from 2009 and will host about 4,000 participants at the convention hall. The events will, of course be star-studded — performers include Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Usher, Alicia Keys, and Brad Paisley. Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor will perform at Obama’s signing ceremony.
Separately but equally interesting, President Obama will use two bibles for this swearing in, reports The Root. One of the bibles was used during the first inauguration in 2009, and was also used by Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration. The second bible will be one used by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., according to a news release from the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
“On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation,” Steve Kerrigan, president and CEO of the committee, said in the release.
The MLK bible was actually Dr.King’s “traveling bible.” According to The Root, Dr. King’s children announced, “We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible. His ‘traveling bible’ inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term.”
In a private swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Jan. 20, the President will use a bible from the First Lady’s family. “The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion. The bible was a gift from the First Lady’s father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother’s Day in 1958,” writes The Root. “Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.”
Will you be there? MadameNoire recently reported on nine reasons to attend.
With all the talk about trillion dollar coins and the looping scribble scrabble that is the signature of President Obama’s Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, this interesting tidbit for small businesses has probably slipped through the cracks.
This week, the White House outlined what it’s calling a “detailed action plan” to bolster and encourage small business innovation in this country. Focused on startups, growing companies, and underserved markets, the White House is pushing Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals, bringing together the various government agencies in a coordinated effort to improve services and initiatives to benefit small businesses. And there’s now a measurement system in place to make sure the efforts are working. This is all meant to build upon the Startup America initiative, which was started back in 2011 with the goal of promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship across the country.
Among the items that are part of this whole small business promotion plan are BusinessUSA, a bank of services to better customer satisfaction and more inclusive government contracting, something we’re seeing more on the state and city level in places like Chicago and New York.
Small businesses face a slew of challenges to getting off the ground. Besides the cost of starting and running the business, attracting customers, and competition — from both big chains and other small companies — minority- and women-owned businesses also face hurdles tied to funding and outright discrimination. Entrepreneur also took a look at the ways in which the fiscal cliff deal will impact small business. The most pronounced is the end of the payroll tax break.
“While this isn’t specific to small businesses, the pattern is clear: Payroll-tax cuts stimulate job creation and payroll-tax increases discourage it,” the article says, adding expert commentary stating that the holiday created 300,000 jobs.
The other two items (also not really exclusive to small business) are the increased taxes on high earners, which impacts a small fraction of entrepreneurs, and the capital gains tax increase which, the article says, will negatively impact investing and equity financing. These two, it seems, don’t have nearly as much effect as the first might.
But the point of the White House initiatives is to provide an entry way for small businesses to plant a flag and get off the ground. Our advice to small business owners would be to follow the White House and the Small Business Administration on Twitter and Facebook to get updates on new programs. And visit these two websites regularly to find out what sorts of programs you qualify for. Oftentimes, states will also have small business programs that can provide assistance. The help is there, so take advantage of it.
No doubt, you’ve been hearing a lot about the “fiscal cliff” that we’re perilously close to going over. On January 1, a number of tax increases and spending cuts will go into effect if this very divided federal government doesn’t reach a compromise. Faith in their ability to reach a resolution is low, which is impacting stock prices today and has been a factor for many business decision makers for months.
“Failure to reach a deal means tax increases and deep spending cuts take effect in five weeks — the fiscal cliff scenario that analysts fear could push the country back into recession,” says CNN.
The plan President Obama proposes would extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class while ending them for people making $250,000 and more. This infographic lays out who would be affected by the tax increase and who wouldn’t. (Those who wouldn’t include individuals making less than this amount and “97 percent” of small businesses.) The My2K hashtag refers to the $2,200 that middle class taxes would increase should we actually fall off this metaphorical cliff. The White House has also been pushing their proposal hard on their Twitter account, with videos and other media included, and on this website.
Of course, others who reject the President’s plan have also used the hashtag to make their point of view known.
President Obama is also meeting with small business owners, chief executives at corporations, and middle class Americans today.
The Republicans, of course, aren’t taking this lying down. They’re also planning a number of events in Washington, with small business owners and corporate bigwigs, and in their home states, telling everyone who will listen that the White House plan will cost jobs. They say there should be no tax increases for anyone and want to reduce the size of government. They’re also in favor of spending cuts and entitlement reforms, a break with a pledge that many Republicans made with Grover Norquist, an anti-tax activist who founded Americans for Tax Reform.
“This is the public relations phase of the latest fiscal showdown in Washington, where direct engagement is no longer viewed as the optimal route to reaching a deal. As Wall Street shudders and Congress once again risks looking feckless in the face of crisis, both sides are locked in a battle to win over key interest groups — and the public,” writes Politico. The website notes that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) haven’t met face-to-face in a while to discuss a compromise. Many believe they should meet, and meet often, in the coming days. But previous meetings over other issues yielded little. So the President seems to be opting for another strategy this time around.
A final compromise has to be reached in 33 days.